This morning, within half an hour of each other, two significant references to ‘Backwards’ in these two reviews:
THE DARK NEST by Sue Harper: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/769-2/#comment-620
WALKING HORATIO by Mark Patrick Lynch: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/walking-horacio-mark-patrick-lynch/#comment-19256
Leading me to discover by random chance this old short short of mine…
Women with their backs to us
There was an exhibition of paintings of women with their backs to us. I, as a woman, wondered why anyone would think to paint these paintings or arrange such a display of mixed motives: scornful watchfuless, loving care at a distance, stalking, pining…
In fact name-hidden, as opposed to body-hidden, presences above have given me some of these clues as to the possible permutations of reaction to such a ‘happening’ of themed images.
As I walked around the gallery, I tried to put myself in the mind of each man who stood or sat behind each woman in the paintings … thus concocting for myself a new recipe of tempting emotions fitting for such an apparently bleak, often oblique experience.
Have you ever sensed eyes boring into your back? You dare not turn for whatever reason. It’s almost as if you are guilty about catching someone looking at you surreptitiously. They’re to blame for their own actions (or inaction in not looking away) but you feel guilty that you may have stirred their curiosity, their longing, distaste or even gratuitousness of idle gaze.
Well, today, that day, whenever it was to be, in that gallery-of-few-visitors-but-many-guards-sitting-in-corners, you now somehow gazed at the backviews of each painting, knowing, in some intrinsic dream bordering on nightmare, that you were staring outward from the frame …. and you cried inwardly as you felt bugs crawling along your back and nape of the neck between canvas and wood. Or between canvas and paint. You could not be sure.
Just the distant echo of a shout from a corner guard whose words were deadened by the glass.